The importance of ‘soft skills’ in leadership development

Leading a business has long been about displaying our personal strengths in the workplace. But today’s working environment requires managers to also display a raft of ‘softer skills’ when dealing with people. 

Soft skills can be quite a revelation for business leaders, who are beginning to understand that leading with an iron fist doesn’t yield the best results. 

Taking a softer approach refers to learning how to effectively relate to people, showing empathy and optimism and actively encouraging input from others. 

While the name ‘soft skills’ might suggest these talents aren’t as effective as other leadership traits, adopting a softer approach is in fact increasingly important, opening the door to new discussions at leadership level.

Not surprisingly, some business leaders find it challenging to adopt a softer approach. But there is mounting evidence that softer interpersonal skills yield better results from both your own people and customers, meaning it’s time to take these skills seriously. 

Peggy Klaus is the US author of ‘The Hard Truth about Soft Skills’. She quotes studies that show that careers fail or stall not because of a lack of technical or professional expertise, but rather because of a shortcoming in the soft skills arena. There is an ever-growing body of research that supports the need for improving soft skills competency, she says.

Soft skills can not only improve a person’s performance and satisfaction, but can also prepare technical workers for promotion, she adds. 

Develop soft skills in your workplace by:

  • Understanding that soft skills can be developed in the same way that technical and leadership skills can be.
  • Leading from the top – display soft skills when dealing with people.
  • Explaining the importance of softer skills to your management team. These include listening and encouraging staff to provide input into the business, which can often result in new insights.
  • Sending staff on professional development trainings that promote the use of softer skills in the workplace.

Put the adoption of soft skills high on your list of business priorities today.


Views: 779

Comment by Jo Hanlon on February 10, 2012 at 9:46

I agree absolutley Mandy, but I have a personal opinion and approach to call them "intrinsic skills" rather than "soft skills" . I feel this can encourage those who may tend to ignore these skills because they feel they need to be tough to lead well, to otherwise stop and dwell on their use based on their importance.

Add a Comment

You need to be a member of HR Daily Community to add comments!

Join HR Daily Community

© 2019   Created by Jo Knox.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service